Disclosure: This is an honest review of a tool we use to organize our podcast. This post is not sponsored, but we will be saving money on our CoSchedule fees as a result. Opinions are our own. This post contains affiliate links.
Hey everyone! It’s Heidi. 🙂
Here at Very Serious Crafts, we’re very serious about many things, not the least of which is organization. Mollie & I are both located in the Chicago area, but Haley is all the way out East in Brooklyn. Before VSC, we were balancing each of our craft design businesses, involving all the hats you can imagine and then some, from developing pattern concepts to handling website design. With the beautiful, empowering and fun (seriously) addition of Very Serious Crafts to our lives, there’s now another set of hats to divide among the three of us. Together, we juggle Central and Eastern time zones as we do all the lovely things involved in making a podcast. We develop, select and research concepts for each episode, produce the podcast from start to finish, build and maintain this website, create social media posts, and get the podcast in front of as many crafters as possible through marketing. It’s nothing we can’t handle, but keeping it all organized helps make this all happen smoothly every two weeks like clockwork. And it helps free up more time for us to do actual crafting!
A huge lifesaver for us has been discovering a tool called CoSchedule (affiliate link). What is it, exactly? The company self-describes with the following:
CoSchedule is the #1 marketing calendar that allows you to plan, create, and promote your content and projects all in one place. It saves you time and helps you grow your audience through smart marketing plans and efficient team collaboration.
So for folks who don’t generally read copy written by tech startups, I’d describe CoSchedule as a digital tool that lets us plan and organize all of the things for Very Serious Crafts plus all of our own businesses, deadlines and work. We have one shared CoSchedule calendar that all 3 of us have access to. Much more than feature-rich than your run-of-the-mill online calendar, it allows us to have discussions, assign tasks and reminders to each other, and quickly and easily schedule all of the would-be time-consuming things we have to remember to do every day, for our businesses as well as the podcast.
More about CoSchedule:
Taking on a podcast this year was something that kind of took us all by surprise, but with CoSchedule, it’s been seriously manageable.
Some of our favorite features:
- WordPress integration allows us to draft posts from within the CoSchedule site. It works both ways – we can see our CoSchedule calendar from our WordPress dashboard too.
- The ability to have multiple users (with profile pics), and we can assign ownership of different tasks to ourselves or to each other as they’re added.
- Social media profile integration. Think about it. Very Serious Crafts, Hands Occupied, Red Handled Scissors & Wild Olive all have about half a dozen different social media accounts we’re balancing to connect with the online creative community. Remembering what to post, when and where would be a nightmare without a tool like this.
- Color coding. We’re craft designers, of course we like color coding. We each have an assigned spectrum of colors for our businesses, and it’s glorious.
- Task management. Enough said.
- Mobile app for on-the-go social media scheduling & reminders.
- Templates for social media and tasks related to a given project, so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time we release a new post.
- Analytics to let us know what’s working.
- Seriously amazing customer support.
- A free trail to start, which is always helpful. Our free trial was a critical way to let us know whether CoSchedule was going to fit our needs. Also, knowing the free trial period wouldn’t last forever helped motivate us to learn the ins and outs of the tool right away, which I personally appreciated!
A great example of how we’ve made these features work in harmony is a new episode release. First up, Mollie edits and uploads each episode to all of the podcast distribution things like a boss. Then Haley drafts the blog post and show notes for the new episode, plus wrangles Twitter. And after that, I handle the rest of the social media part. Mollie can check off her task, Haley can tackle hers, and then I can see in the CoSchedule calendar that those tasks have been done, so I can go in and check off Facebook, posting to the Facebook Group, sharing on Instagram, pinning our notes, etc. This in particular has been a great way to develop our routine for promotion, see what works and what doesn’t, and stay on top of things.
Our only real negatives so far: The mobile app doesn’t show daily tasks list, so you have to have access to your computer to keep track of to-dos organized through CoSchedule. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it’s worth noting depending on your personal work setup.
There was a bit of a learning curve to grapple with when we first got started with CoSchedule, but their support team was highly available to help walk us through the different workflows we were hoping to build. It also took a little bit of time to develop and build our social media & task templates, but once we got those built, we started to feel the anxiety of disorganization lift from our shoulders. Once we invested the time into learning CoSchedule (affiliate link) well enough to yield it as a time-saving tool, we were all pretty excited about it. (BTW: If you listen to episode 7 of the Very Serious Crafts podcast, you’ll hear me joking about my neat color-coordinated calendar and Haley talking about workflows. We’re talking about our nerdy excitement over CoSchedule in particular there.)
Bonus: CoSchedule is based in North Dakota, my home state! I’m from Fargo, where one of their offices is located, and you betcha I was surprised when I got on one of my first support calls and was informed the person I was video chatting with was in my hometown. Basically, they’re super nice and easy to work with, which is to be expected from the average North Dakotan! While I might be biased toward liking Fargo folks, I didn’t in fact realize they were based there until after we’d already signed up. I’d like this tool even if they didn’t have ND bonus points. 🙂